As today’s guest columnist for Neuse Regional Libraries, I’d like to introduce myself. My name is El Perry and I am a social work intern currently finishing my undergraduate degree at East Carolina University. I am beginning an exciting new role at the Kinston-Lenoir County Public Library that I’d like to share with you today.
Library staff have shared with me what an important role the library plays in the community. Local residents rely on the library as a place where they can access important services such as internet access and educational materials free of charge. Staff members encounter community members with an amazingly diverse array of needs and goals, both immediate and long-term. While the Library is very well equipped to address some of these needs, there are also many others that require a different kind of support.
I know that the Kinston-Lenoir County Public Library functions as a community center for many people, and I’m hoping to further that role by starting a new program at Neuse Regional Libraries called Community Connections. Library patrons and other community members are welcome to schedule a consultation with me — free of charge — to discuss any issue they may be struggling with. This includes but certainly is not limited to financial planning, food insecurity, health care access, and mental health struggles.
Based on our conversation, I will act as a community resource specialist and connect you with a local agency suited for your needs. If you do not require a referral, or would simply like someone to talk to, our one-on-one meetings can continue confidentially at your discretion. Additionally, I will be leading a variety of weekly support groups for those who would prefer to be part of a group environment. I would love to hear suggestions from community members about groups they would find particularly beneficial. Possibilities include LGBT, caregiver, and general emotional support groups.
Because this is a brand-new program and because our entire purpose is to best serve the Kinston community, I’m very eager for community input and feedback. One major question I have is whether there would be more demand for in-person or virtual meetings. I’ll also be on the lookout for any specific services that I need to emphasize, and I welcome any tips from community members. If you’d like to give me your input, schedule a consultation, and/or join a process group, please call me at 252-527-7066 ext. 123, or email me at email@example.com. I look forward to hearing from you all and getting to know the Kinston community over the next few months!